If you've never heard of Richard Thorncroft, don't worry -- he's not actually real. In "Mindhorn", Barratt plays Thorncroft, a washed-up (fictional) actor who starred in a (fictional) 1980s TV show about a (fictional) crime fighter from the Isle of Man.
If that sounds confusing, imagine trying to sell it to puzzled movie execs. Barratt co-wrote the film with Simon Farnaby, who revealed the difficulties of pitching such a meta story. "We wrote it in two hours", jokes Farnaby, "but it took ten years to raise the money".
Barrett's crime-fighting alter ego battles injustice with a high-tech truth-detecting eye patch. The eye patch required some intense acting craft from Barratt, who claims to be able to focus acting from any part of his face -- even his teeth. If he doesn't pick up this year's Oscar for Best Eyepatch Acting then there's no justice in the world.
Farnaby also appears in the film as a stuntman on the fictional TV-show-within-the-film. He played another action role recently as rebel fighter pilot Blue Five in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story".
As well as filming his scenes, he was scanned in costume to potentially create a Blue Five action figure. While that action figure has yet to appear, Barratt reckons they can still find a use for the scans: the virtual Farnaby could be Richard Thorncroft's hologram mate.
"Mindhorn" is in cinemas in the UK from 5 May.
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